Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, took to the airwaves on Sunday to blast efforts by Senate Democrats to pass new gun-control legislation following last week’s terror massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, arguing Democrats need to “leave the good guys alone,” while urging Americans to arm themselves because radical Islamists are “on the verge of overwhelming us.”
“What we’re doing with this debate on the Hill right now, it’s like they’re trying to stop a freight train with a piece of Kleenex,” LaPierre said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., agreed to allow votes Monday on gun-control proposals after Democrats, led by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., successfully waged a filibuster last week to force debate on the issue.
“It’s all being politicized with a politically correct White House’s nose and fingers in areas they don’t belong,” said LaPierre.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on four proposals – two from Democrats and two from Republicans – that would try to prevent people on the terror watch list from purchasing firearms and expand background checks for gun purchases to include gun shows and mental-health history.
“These two steps, banning terrorists from buying guns and expanding background checks, are hardly the end or the perfect solution,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told NPR. “These measures are a start – the most noncontroversial, simple, straightforward start – and have to be accompanied by a ban on assault weapons.”
LaPierre insisted terrorists “don’t care about the law” and will attack “vulnerable” soft targets like schools, malls and churches.
“Laws didn’t stop them in Boston. Laws didn’t stop them in San Bernardino where you had every type of a gun-control law you could have. And they didn’t stop them in Paris, where people can’t even own guns,” he said.
He warned of the need for Americans to “face what’s coming” and to take necessary security precautions.
“The fact is, we need vigilance, we need preparedness, we need a full court press on personal protection. We need to be able to protect ourselves,” he said.
Most Republican senators agree, saying the gun-control debate is simply shifting attention from the real threat – the infiltration of the U.S. by Islamic terrorists.
“We should be focused on terrorism and stopping ISIS,” Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in an interview Thursday. “Far too many Democrats and President Obama are refusing to get serious about stopping radical Islamic terrorism in the face of this Orlando attack.”
Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said the “sticking point” is Democrat efforts to convert the terror massacre into a gun-control issue.
“They can use bombs. They can use other things to kill people in the United States, as we all know,” Sessions told NBC News. “We are not going to eliminate guns in America, so people will be able to get a gun if they choose, and they can shoot people.”
Democrats are busy pressuring vulnerable Republicans, like Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, to help give them the 60 votes needed to pass the legislation.
“It’s not enough for Republicans to simply let us vote. Democrats cannot pass these gun-safety measures by ourselves,” Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a floor speech Thursday.